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The Benefits of Hiking

Almost everyone knows that physical activity is good for your health. By moving around and stretching your muscles you can release the tensions of the day, and you might even be able to stave off some of the more common and serious health problems that impact us in middle age, such as heart disease or arthritis. But while people may know they should be getting plenty of exercise, they may balk at the idea of actually pulling a program together. I understand. If I had to spend most of my evenings in a gym, lifting weights, I think I would do all I could to avoid workouts, too. But, as I tell so many of my friends, there are lots of different methods that people can use to get active and get fit. For example, I think people should consider hiking. It's a great way to stay active and it's not at all hard to get started.

Hiking is appealing because it's a goal-oriented process. You start in one place and you're working your way toward the next. Instead of running in place, like a hamster on the hamster wheel, you're making progress forward with each and every step you take. It's hard not to get motivated, especially when you know the next step will take you to a view right around the corner. And honestly, that's another major benefit of hiking. Most domestic hikes include some astonishing sights. You'll walk by waterfalls, amazing ferns, spectacular views and all kinds of wildflowers. If you're lucky, you might even see a few rare birds or exotic creatures on your hikes. It's a peaceful and inspiring way to exercise, when you're surrounded by this sort of natural beauty and splendor. It's something I really enjoy.

In addition, I've met so many wonderful people through hiking. People who hike tend to form a tight community, and we watch out for one another. We share tips about hikes we like, and sometimes we even sit down together and share our snacks at the end of a long day on the trails. This isn't the kind of community you'll find in a suburban gym, but it's easy to find on the hiking trail. That's something I truly love.

So instead of signing up for an expensive gym membership, give hiking a try. You might find that it's a great way to get a good workout, and you might enjoy it much more than you ever thought possible.

About the Author: Mark Zajdek is an avid hiker, runner and cyclist. In addition to all of these physical activities, Mark Zajdek also enjoys spending quiet time with a good book.

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